A strong south-westerly wind shifting round to the west-north-west once the front rolled through to reach 30 – 35 knots and some very active squalls with waves of up to 4 to 5 metres… the initial hours of racing for the solo sailors in the Route du Rhum have been bracing but in line with forecasts. The upshot of this was radio silence and an all-nighter aboard the trimaran fitted out by Baron Benjamin de Rothschild. In view of the conditions described above we can well understand why. The main thing to note is that the skipper of the Multi70 Edmond de Rothschild is sailing a very fine race. The author of a prudent start off the corsair city, Sébastien Josse didn’t think twice about reducing his sail area early yesterday evening offshore of Bréhat so as to confidently tackle the passage of a very active front on exiting the English Channel. His choices and his management of the race paid off since this morning, at the 0700 GMT ranking, the trimaran fitted out by Baron Benjamin de Rothschild was lying in 2nd place some 28.7 miles behind the leader, Banque Populaire VII.
“The exit from the English Channel hasn’t been the most restful… On passing Bréhat, the wind picked up with real gusto in a line of squalls. Given the wind and sea forecasts for the front rolling over the top of them on the approach to Ushant, Sébastien then opted to reduce the sail area to 2 reefs and ORC. It was a pertinent choice, even though initially it forced him to make headway slightly under-canvassed for a few hours. He opted to lose a bit of ground in relation to his rivals, but that has paid off for the next stage,” explained Antoine Koch, one of Gitana Team’s routers.
A favourite out for the count
Last night, the race lost one of its firm favourites and above all one of sailing’s greats from the Ultime class. At around 2330 hours yesterday evening, the coastguard informed Race Management for the Route du Rhum - Destination Guadeloupe that Sodebo Ultim’ had collided with a cargo ship. The trimaran was almost out of the Ushant shipping lane when the incident occurred. The forward section of the starboard float was pulled off in the impact. Thomas Coville, safe and sound, is making for Roscoff, where he is expected early this morning.
Ranking on 3 November at 0700 GMT
- Banque Populaire VII (Loïck Peyron) – 3,282.1 miles from the goal
- Edmond de Rothschild (Sébastien Josse) – 28.78 miles behind the leader
- Prince de Bretagne (Lionel Lemonchois) – 36.91 miles back
- Musandam Oman Sail (Sidney Gavignet) – 43.16 miles back
- Paprec recyclage (Yann Elies) – 47.26 miles back
- Spindrift 2 (Yann Guichard) – 54.94 miles back
- Idec Sport (Francis Joyon) – 61.28 miles back
Abd – Sodebo Ultim’